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  Sunday, 8 December, 2002, 22:06 GMT
Ronaldo's return to glory
Ronaldo
Ronaldo put two past Germany in the final

Few international footballers have been able to earn redemption in such a spectacular way as Ronaldo did in the 2002 World Cup.

His performance helped him become only the third footballer to win the BBC Overseas Personality Award, following Eusebio and Pele.

It was in the Far East that the Brazilian star as finally able to put the ghosts of France '98 truly behind him.

Having suffered from a string of injuries and a lack of first team football at Italian club Inter Milan, he made a triumphant return in Japan and Korea, leading Brazil to their fifth World Cup.

He won the Golden Boot award with eight goals during the tournament - two coming in the final - and erased all memory of the 3-0 final defeat by France four years earlier.

  Ronaldo
Born: 26 September 1976
Birthplace: Bento Ribero, Rio de Janeiro
Career so far
1993: Cruzeiro
1994: PSV Eindhoven
1994: World Cup squad (did not play)
1996: Barcelona
1997: Inter Milan
1998: World Cup (4 goals)
2002: World Cup (8 goals)
2002: Real Madrid

Honours
World Player of the Year: 1996, 1997
World Cup Golden Boot winner: 2002
The buck-toothed Brazilian made his name as a 16-year-old at Brazilian club Cruzeiro, before being lured to Europe by Bobby Robson at PSV Eindhoven.

In just 46 league games he scored 42 goals, earning the attention of all the top clubs across the continent.

In the end, it was Spanish club Barcelona who won the race for his signature and, in his only season there, he found the target on 47 occasions in all competitions.

The awards flooded in - he was named Fifa World Player of the Year in 1996 and 1997.

Moving to Inter in the 1997/1998 season, Ronaldo continued to dazzle in front of goal in Serie A and looked ready to take all the glory at the World Cup in France.

The star striker lived up to early expectations by scoring four goals as Brazil coasted to the Final.

What happened from there still remains a mystery, as he was struck down by some sort of fit and played the match in a daze and football's premier trophy eluded the Brazilians.

  World Cup Highlights
Opening group match:
Second group match:
Semi-final: v Turkey
Final: v Germany

From there his career nosedived.

Two major knee injuries and a series of operations crippled the striker and his appearances were severely limited for Inter.

His lowest point saw him ruled out for the entire 2000/1 season.

His recovery, though, was remarkable and timed to perfection.

He returned to full fitness and form ahead of the 2002 World Cup and the old Ronaldo was sparked back into life.

His sensational performance in Japan and Korea has seen a re-blossoming of the career of Brazil's biggest football hero since Pele.

In the true style of a world-class international, he promptly announced he was fed up with life in Milan and has moved to Spanish giants Real Madrid, where he hopes to attain even greater heights.

In-depth section on the big BBC awards

Radcliffe triumphs

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